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Updated: 6 hours 33 min ago

Cochrane's 30 under 30: Stephen Surace

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 11:34

Cochrane is made up of 13,000 members and over 50,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all. 

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of this series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30." 

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world. 

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact lparsonson@cochrane.org.  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact membership@cochrane.org where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

Name: Stephen Surace
Age: 27
Occupation: Doctor
Program: Cochrane Musculoskeletal

How did you first hear about Cochrane?
From very early on in medical school you start hearing the words “Cochrane review” used with a fair amount of reverence. If they aren’t appearing as a reference in a lecture note or your tutors aren’t talking about a new publication, they are used as the real-life example of the pinnacle of the evidence pyramid.

How did you become involved with Cochrane? What is your background?
I am a doctor, but I first became involved as a medical student. I was looking to use my epidemiology and research methods classes for a practical purpose, and after asking around my hospital I was given the name of someone to speak to who was involved in “some research”. I was just incredibly lucky that my rotations at the time brought me into contact with people who worked with Cochrane.

What do you do in Cochrane?
I have helped with data collection and synthesis on two published reviews and am a primary author on a third.

What specifically do you enjoy about working for Cochrane and what have you learnt?
Working with Cochrane has taught me an incredible amount about research. There are the obvious lessons, such as how to critically appraise trials, a better understanding of different biases and their consequences, and an appreciation of just how much work goes into each and every review. However, there were also unexpected lessons. Examining bias and trial method actually taught me a lot about how to construct trials and investigating evidence and data quality allowed me to realise how there are many ways not only to interpret, but also to present and modulate results. This has real and continuing implications for my work as a doctor, and my experience with Cochrane eventually lead me to undertaking a research degree in addition to my medical studies. Beyond the review, working with Cochrane is also a great opportunity to work with and learn from a group of experienced research mentors.

What are your future plans?
I’d love to keep working with Cochrane and keep working on reviews. I’d especially like to come back when I’m further through my training, so that I can provide analysis and commentary not just from the point of view of an enthusiastic researcher, but also from the view of a specialist in my field.



In your personal experience, what one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
I think more people should know how they could get involved with Cochrane.  The first question from so many of my colleagues when I said I was helping to write a Cochrane review was to ask me how in the world I managed to arrange that.

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future?
I hope that they can find the time and expertise to expand their number of reviews. If I have to answer a question in medicine, I can always breathe a sigh of relief if there is a recent Cochrane review to guide me.

How important is it that young people get involved in Cochrane? Why is this, do you think?
There is no better time to get involved than right now. The earlier you start, the more opportunities you have to implement the skills you learn from working with Cochrane, whether they relate to research methods or the lessons you learn from your supervisors and mentors. As for the organisation, young people are always a source of new ideas and fresh perspectives, so it’s really a win-win situation.  

What would your message be to other young people who want to get involved with Cochrane’s work but not sure where to start….?
As I said, it’s never too early to get involved, but it’s also never too late. I thought for sure when I was looking around in medical school that I had left it too late to ever find any research to help out with. Yet it was really only just the beginning. Think of a field of interest, even if that is just a broad type of research you want to become familiar with and start looking up contact details. Google the relevant Cochrane group page, email the contact person, phone around. You can even try the old-fashioned way and knock on their office door like I did when I first started. The Cochrane people are happy to provide help and are also always looking for help. If you have the enthusiasm and drive to volunteer your time, then you have something invaluable to offer.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Belgian Red Cross’ First Aid Guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa feature 13 Cochrane reviews

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 18:15

 

The Belgian Red Cross specializes in the development of evidence-based first aid guidelines and materials. After the update of its basic first aid manual for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 (freely downloadable following registration), a brand new manual with advanced first aid techniques, contextualized to Sub-Saharan Africa, is currently being developed. The manual will be used during first responder training programs of several African Red Cross societies, including those of Malawi, South-Africa and Zimbabwe. First responders are laypeople who are trained to be the first line of support within their community when disaster strikes. The guideline features evidence from 13 Cochrane Reviews of 8 different Cochrane groups:  Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections (1); Cochrane Airways (2); Cochrane Back and Neck (1); Cochrane Eyes and Vision (1); Cochrane Injuries (3); Cochrane Vascular (1); Cochrane Work (2) and Cochrane Wounds (2).

The First Aid for First Responders Manual will be available by the end of 2019. The evidence included will be available through the evidence summary database of the Belgian Red Cross’ Centre for Evidence-Based Practice (CEBaP). CEBaP recently also launched Cochrane First Aid and will further advocate for the inclusion of Cochrane reviews in first aid guidelines.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Join the Rapid, Rapid, Rapid study and help answer an important methodological question!

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 14:25

The Cochrane Rapid Review Methods Group is leading an important piece of methodological research and need your help.

Does it make a difference whether abstracts are screened by one or two people to find relevant studies for a systematic review? How many relevant studies will be missed when abstracts are reviewed by only one person? Can the Cochrane RCT-classifier, a machine-learning tool for classifying RCTs and the Cochrane Crowd, do this accurately? The Cochrane Rapid Review Methods Group and the Cochrane Crowd Team have developed a study to try to answer these questions.

The study is made up of three ‘arms’ – three different groups that participants to the study could be assigned to. If you already have experience screening search results for a review, you will be randomly assigned to review a set of 100 abstracts and classify them as "Relevant" or "Not Relevant" to a particular research question from a search for either a pharmacological review or for a public health review. If you have no experience screening for reviews, you will be assigned to the "Crowd" arm where you can screen as many records as you like for the pharmacological review.

More details about the study can be found here.

We are looking for participants:

  • with and without experience of screening search results for a review
  • willing to spend around 2 to 3 hours screening 100 abstracts over the next three weeks
  • over 18 years of age

To join, just follow these 4 steps:

  1. If you don't have a Cochrane Crowd account yet, register here first and continue with step 2. If you already have a Cochrane Crowd account, you can go straight to step 2:
  2. Click on this link that will launch the brief participant questionnaire
  3. Once you have completed the questionnaire, log in to Cochrane Crowd as usual
  4. Near the top of your task dashboard you will see the task called Rapid, Rapid, Rapid. This is the task you will have been randomly assigned to. Complete the training and get screening your 100 records!

You don’t have to screen all 100 records in one go. We will keep the study running until Friday 14th June so there should be plenty of time for you to chip away at your 100 records.

If you are able to take part, you will be named on a conference poster about the study at the Cochrane Colloquium, receive a certificate of participation, and enter a prize draw for one of five gift vouchers worth $100.

Happy citation screening!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Launch of Cochrane US Network

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:34

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Cochrane launches a new network of US institutions to promote evidence-based health care and public health  

The Cochrane US Network made up of some of the country’s leading institutions in the research and practice of evidence-based medicine, and they join Cochrane’s 70 existing geographic Groups around the world. The Cochrane US Network will promote evidence-informed decision making in health care in the US by supporting and training systematic review authors and users of Cochrane Reviews, as well as working with clinicians, professional associations, policymakers, patients, healthcare provider organizations and the media to encourage the dissemination and use of Cochrane evidence.

The Cochrane US Network is initially made up of the existing Cochrane US West Associate Center based at Oregon Health & Science University; three Cochrane Review Groups producing systematic reviews in neonatal health, fertility regulation and urological conditions; three US satellites of Cochrane Review Groups focusing on eyes and vision, pregnancy and childbirth and musculoskeletal disease; one Field specializing in complementary medicine; and 11 new Affiliate institutions, including:

  • AcademyHealth
  • American College of Physicians
  • Central Michigan University
  • Cornell University
  • Mayo Clinic Evidence-based Practice Center
  • Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice
  • RTI International – University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center
  • Texas Christian University
  • University of Chicago Medicine
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; and
  • University of Maryland School of Medicine

Mark Wilson, Cochrane CEO, said: “I am delighted to see such a prestigious and committed group of US institutions and leaders in evidence-informed health care join Cochrane’s global family of collaborators.

Many of these researchers and clinicians are leaders in the field, and I am excited by the expertise, innovation and knowledge they will bring to our mission of delivering trusted evidence into health policy and clinical decision-making. The US health system is the largest and most sophisticated in the world, yet suffers from huge inequalities in health outcomes and tremendous wastefulness. We believe a vibrant Cochrane Network promoting greater use of evidence showing what health interventions work and what don’t can make a real difference to this; and I hope that this new – already extensive – Network will grow further and welcome many more partners in the years to come.”

These new Cochrane Affiliates each have their own specific areas of expertise and focus. Collectively, the Network will focus on producing high quality evidence on priority topics for the US; providing training to systematic review authors and health care practitioners, policymakers and others in the interpretation of Cochrane Reviews; as well as raising general awareness of the Cochrane evidence available to make well-informed health and health care decisions.  The new Network will build on the work of the former US Cochrane Center based at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.


Marguerite Koster, co-chair of the Cochrane Governing Board adds: “The establishment of the US Network is an important development for Cochrane as well as the health care community in the US. Coordination and collaboration are core values of the Network because we strongly believe we can add value by working  together as a consortium. I very much look forward to the start of the Network and to seeing it develop and grow as a platform for anyone interested in evidence-informed health and health care in the US.”

A formal launch of the new ‘Cochrane US Network’ was held onJune 4, at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC, immediately after AcademyHealth’s 2019 Annual Research Meeting at the same location.

During the launch meeting Cochrane CEO, Mark Wilson, and Governing Board co-chair, Marguerite Koster, introduced the US Network. Additionally, representatives from the Network introduced their institutions and planned work, and spoke to the value of being part of the Network.

The Cochrane US Network is part of Cochrane,  global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. Cochrane produces reviews which study all of the best available evidence generated through research and make it easier to inform decisions about health. Cochrane is a not-for profit organization with over 65,000 members and supporters from more than 130 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Cochrane’s work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Inaugural Editor in Chief of Cochrane Clinical Answers announced

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:43

We are delighted to announce that Dr Christopher Bunt, MD, FAAFP has been appointed as the inaugural Editor in Chief of Cochrane Clinical Answers (CCAs), reporting to Karla Soares-Weiser, Editor in Chief of Cochrane. Chris has been a practicing Family Medicine physician in the US since 2004 and has recently added Medical Acupuncture to his clinical duties. Chris has also been a Clinician-Educator since 2007, focusing on teaching and designing evidence-based medicine curricula for interprofessional students, residents and faculty colleagues. Chris has worked with the CCA team as an Associate Editor since 2012, writing 56 CCAs. He also has extensive editorial experience as a Contributing Editor for American Family Physician, the largest primary care journal in the US, since 2016.

CCAs form a key strand of Cochrane’s Knowledge Translation strategy, providing concise, evidence-based answers to Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) clinical questions based on Cochrane Reviews. The product was developed in partnership between Cochrane and Wiley and in 2018 became part of the suite of databases available to all Cochrane Library subscribers. The Editor in Chief of CCAs is a new honorary role that has been created to oversee the development and implementation of editorial policies for CCAs, guide editorial strategy decisions and ensure the quality of CCA content.

We are thrilled to welcome Chris to the team; we are convinced that he will be a great asset to Cochrane and will be instrumental in the development and future strategy of CCAs. Karla also welcomes Chris’ appointment: “We are excited to welcome Chris into this new post. We look forward to working with him to further develop CCAs and reach out to clinical communities around the world to promote the use of this important Cochrane resource”. And Chris highlights: “CCAs are the ‘point-of-care home’ for busy clinicians. I am thrilled to continue to work with the CCA team as we further evidence-based medicine practice around the world.”   

Chris is currently the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. He will be contributing two days a month as Editor in Chief of Cochrane Clinical Answers. He can be reached at cbunt@cochrane.org.

Friday, May 24, 2019

The First Cochrane Hong Kong Symposium

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:37

Cochrane Hong Kong is celebrating it's first Symposium on 23-24 May, with workshops following on 27-28 May. The theme of the Cochrane Hong Kong Symposium is ‘Paving the Way for and Achieving Excellence in Evidence-informed Health Care in the Belt and Road Regions’. The symposium aims to provide an international multidisciplinary platform for discussion and debate among health care providers, policy makers, academics, and researchers on contemporary strategies and issues in evidence-informed health care and policy formulation.

Co-Directors of Cochrane Hong Kong, Professor Wai Tong Chien and Professor Professor Pak Chun Janita Chau were joined by Mark Wilson, Chief Executive Officer to open the Symposium. Professor Martin Burton, Co-Chair of the Cochrane Governing Board, gave the Keynote Address

Professor Sek Ying Chair, Director and Professor at The Nethersole School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, the Chinese University of Hong Kong said: "Over the past two decades, Cochrane has significantly contributed to the promotion of evidence-informed health care decision-making through producing high quality and accessible systematic reviews and other synthesised research evidence. Cochrane evidence is internationally regarded as a powerful tool to enhance health care knowledge and practice. With the establishment of Cochrane Hong Kong, our School is committed to working hand in hand with other Cochrane centres around the world especially those in Asia and the Belt and Road regions towards a shared vision for better health."

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Cochrane seeks Systematic Review Methodology Editor - Flexible location

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 13:55

Specifications: Full-time, initially as a one year fixed-term contract. Secondments considered.
Salary: £40,000 to £45,000
Location: Flexible
Application Closing Date: 12th June 2019 (12 Midnight GMT)

This role is an exciting opportunity to use your experience as a Methodology Editor to make a difference in the field of health care research. 

As Systematic Review Methodology Editor, you will provide support, general systematic review methods advice and methods peer review as requested by Network Editorial Teams (Network Senior Editor, Associate Editor or Network Support Fellow) or field queries from the Community Support Team as needed. The role will require an understanding of methods such as the assessment of risk of bias, application of GRADE and interpretation of findings in the review. An understanding of statistical meta-analysis methods is advantageous in the role, although specialist statistical editors in the unit will be able to provide this advice.

We are looking for a self-motivated and highly organised individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts across the world.  The successful candidate will also have:

  • Familiarity with Cochrane guidance and standards on the design, conduct and reporting of systematic reviews (MECIR), including GRADE methods.
  • Familiarity with systematic review methods relevant to the synthesis of non-randomised evidence
  • An understanding of the importance of systematic reviews to clinical decision making
  • Intermediate level IT skills, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Computing experience with a statistical software (such as Stata, R, SAS)
  • Knowledge and skills relevant to the systematic review process
  • An ability to develop and maintain working relationships with key stakeholders
  • Strong organization and prioritization skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work methodically and accurately
  • A pro-active approach to problem-solving

Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement to recruitment@cochrane.org with “Systematic Review Methodology Editor” in the subject line.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples.  List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities, and skills which you feel are relevant to the post.

For further information, please download the full job description from here.

Deadline for applications: 12th June 2019 (12 midnight GMT)
 
Interviews to be held on: (TBC)


Wednesday, May 22, 2019 Category: Jobs

Cochrane seeks Statistical Editor - Flexible Location

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 12:55

Specifications: Part time (0.5 FTE) initially as a one year fixed-term contract, secondments considered
Salary:
£44,000 to £48,000 (FTE)
Location:
Flexible
Application
Closing Date: 12th June 2019 (12 Midnight GMT)

This role is an exciting opportunity to use your experience as a Statistical Editor to make a difference in the field of health care research.  

As Statistical Editor, you will provide statistical support and advice as requested by Network Editorial Teams (Network Senior Editor, Associate Editor or Network Support Fellow) or field queries from the Community Support Team as needed. The post holder will also provide independent statistical review of high-profile reviews, including those intended for press release.  In addition to this he or she will support the implementation of established and more complex methods in Cochrane reviews and work on monitoring the quality of statistical methods and analysis in Cochrane reviews to inform priorities for training and guidance. The role will require a formal qualification in biomedical statistics, and a good understanding of methods used in meta-analysis.

We are looking for a self-motivated and highly organised individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts across the world.  The successful candidate will also have:

  • Post-graduate degree in medical statistics
  • Involvement in statistical research
  • Familiarity with statistical methods used in pairwise and network meta-analysis
  • Familiarity with methods used for the synthesis of non-randomised studies
  • Understanding of the importance of systematic reviews to clinical or policy decision-making
  • Familiarity with Cochrane guidance and standards on the design, conduct and reporting of systematic reviews (MECIR) and GRADE methods.
  • Familiarity with Cochrane technology systems (e.g. Review Manager Software) or process (e.g. experience as a statistical editor)
  • Computing experience with a statistical software (such as Stata, R, SAS)
  • Intermediate level IT skills, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Strong organization and prioritization skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work methodically and accurately
  • A pro-active approach to problem-solving

Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement to recruitment@cochrane.org with “Statistical Editor” in the subject line.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples.  List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities, and skills which you feel are relevant to the post.

For further information, please download the full job description from here.

Deadline for applications: 12th June 2019 (12 midnight GMT)
 
Interviews to be held on: (TBC)


Wednesday, May 22, 2019 Category: Jobs

Cochrane seeks publishing partner from January 2021

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 17:12

Cochrane, producer of the Cochrane Library, the world’s pre-eminent collection of high quality evidence to inform healthcare decisions, today announces the launch of a competitive tender to establish its future publishing partner from 2021 for the next decade.

Cochrane wants to identify a publishing partner that will increase the accessibility, awareness, impact and use of the Cochrane Library, and put Cochrane evidence at the heart of health decision-making globally; whilst also ensuring long-term financial sustainability of the organization, and innovation and development of other derivative products. Cochrane’s ‘Request for Proposal’ documents are available on request and proposals can be submitted up to 1 July 2019.

Cochrane’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wilson, welcomed launch of the tender: “This is a hugely exciting time for Cochrane. Over the past 25 years, Cochrane has transformed the way health decisions are made through the production and dissemination of our systematic reviews. But there are many challenges ahead including moves towards open access and open data publishing models, and the opportunities provided by new technology and machine-readable data to change the way we produce and deliver our content. I am confident that through this tender Cochrane will find the best publishing partner for these challenges: a partner who will help us get evidence into the hands of patients, clinicians and practitioners, researchers and policy-makers in ways that they can use it better.”

Cochrane Editor in Chief Elect, Karla Soares-Weiser, commented: “The Cochrane Library is pivotal in delivering Cochrane’s mission of producing high-quality, relevant, up-to-date systematic reviews and other synthesized research evidence to inform health decision making. Future publication and dissemination of our content are key to meeting Cochrane’s strategic goals and the long-term financial health of our global organization.”

Charlotte Pestridge, Head of Cochrane’s Innovations, Research & Development Department – and responsible for leading the competitive tender - said: “We are now inviting proposals from suitable partners so that Cochrane can decide with whom, and under what terms, this unique and world-renowned product in the health and healthcare sector will be published in the future.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Cochrane in Practice - Physician Assistant

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 17:32

Cochrane does not make clinical recommendations, instead it provides unbiased and high-quality health evidence so that health decisions, policies, and clinical guidelines can be informed by the best available evidence. ‘Cochrane Evidence in Practice’ series collects stories about clinical professionals using Cochrane evidence - the everyday healthcare professional making sure their patients and clients are getting the best care!

Kristy's story:

 Name: Kristy Goodman, MS, MPH, PA-C
Location: Los Angeles, CA 

"I’m trained as a PA (physician assistant) and have a Master of Public Health with a focus on Health Education and Behavorial Science. As a healthcare provider I rely on resources like Cochrane Reviews to stay up-to-date on current research. This allows me to provide my patients with evidence-based information so that they can feel empowered to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. The plain language summaries are a great educational tool to provide to patients at the end of our visits to reiterate the information we’ve discussed in a language that they can understand.” 

Cochrane does not make clinical recommendations. ‘Cochrane Evidence in Practice’ series collects stories about clinical professionals using Cochrane evidence. Would you  like to add your story of using Cochrane evidence? Please contact mumoquit@cochrane.org to share your story. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Cochrane's 30 under 30: Norah Essali

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:31

Cochrane is made up of 13,000 members and over 50,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all. 

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of this series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30." 

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world. 

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact lparsonson@cochrane.org.  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact membership@cochrane.org where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

Name: Norah Essali (on Twitter @norahessali7)
Age: 27
Occupation: Psychiatry Resident
Program: Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior - Medical College of Georgia

How did you first hear about Cochrane?
I was a medical student when first introduced to Cochrane through the work of my father, Adib Essali. I participated in one of his many workshops in Syria that focused on training medical students, and other healthcare professionals, on the concepts of evidence based medicine, critical appraisal of research and writing Cochrane reviews.

How did you become involved with Cochrane? What is your background?
I first became involved in medical school, when the UK Cochrane centre, directed by Martin Burton, led an initiative to start Students 4 Best Evidence, a global community run by students that aims to engage students in learning about the concepts of evidence based health care.

What do you do in Cochrane?
I was one of the pioneers who helped start students4bestevidence.net while I was in medical school.
 
I'm also an author in the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group. Currently, I'm working with a group of wonderful, Syrian medical students on 2 systematic reviews.

What specifically do you enjoy about working for Cochrane and what have you learnt?
I've enjoyed working for Cochrane because I believe in their message of spreading high quality evidence to inform medical decision making. Additionally, in my interactions with various Cochrane members, I have always felt the enthusiasm and dedication to achieve this goal in the most creative and inclusive manner possible.
 
In working with Cochrane, I have learned to be a smarter consumer of evidence and have utilized this skill to ensure my patients receive evidence-based care.

What are your future plans?
I'm currently in training to become a Psychiatrist. I plan to specialize further in Addiction Psychiatry as I'm interested in working with dual diagnosis patients, especially in emergency settings. I also hope to continue to contribute to research in my field.

In your personal experience, what one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
I believe that an online initiative to engage students is a wonderful starting point. Cochrane could expand upon this by building curriculums for health sciences schools, worldwide, to utilize in teaching students about EBM.

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future?
My hope is that Cochrane will continue to grow, conflict free, continue to engage young people and continue to produce high quality evidence.

How important is it that young people get involved in Cochrane? Why is this, do you think?
Very important. If evidence-based practice is instilled early on, it will increase the likelihood of producing healthcare professionals that use EBM daily to inform their practice. This will then ensure patients have access to well informed providers and thus the best available care.



What would your message be to other young people who want to get involved with Cochrane’s work but not sure where to start….?
I would highly encourage their interest and recommend they start with students4bestevidence.net to learn about the basic concepts of EBM. Also, go to cochrane.org/join-Cochrane to find out different ways they can get involved with Cochrane, based on their interests.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Cochrane expresses thanks to Professor Prathap Tharyan for leading Cochrane South Asia for over 14 years

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 13:39

After leading Cochrane South Asia since 2005, first as a Branch of the Australasian Cochrane Centre, and from 2008 as a standalone Cochrane South Asia Centre, Professor Prathap Tharyan is retiring from his role as Director.

Under Prathap’s leadership, Cochrane South Asia, based at the Prof BV Moses Centre for Evidence Informed Health Care and Health Policy at CMC, Vellore, has contributed enormously to Cochrane's global efforts to increase the uptake of reliable evidence to inform health decisions. In the early years of the Centre, Prathap organized several very successful annual conferences on evidence-based health care at CMC Vellore, drawing delegates from around the region to hear from internationally renowned experts. In 2014, the Cochrane South Asia Centre, also hosted Cochrane’s annual Colloquium in Hyderabad, bringing the international Cochrane community to India. Prathap has also been instrumental in working with the Indian Council of Medical Research to ensure a national subscription to the Cochrane Library from 2007-2015, which has since then been taken over by the National Library of Medicine. 

Prathap’s research interests are wide, covering issues involving the ethics of clinical trials in India (as protection against commercially-focused research organizations) and promoting the conduct of pragmatic trials – reflecting a concern that research should benefit those who volunteer as participants and the wider community they come from. Through his involvement with the Cochrane Infectious Disease Group’s Effective Health Care Research Consortium, Prathap contributed substantially to important reviews, including in malaria that informed WHO guidelines and influenced policy nationally and regionally, and in the area of TB helping develop the INDEX-TB guidelines by the Ministry of Health. 

A few days after the South Asia Cochrane Network was set up in December 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami struck the region. Prathap was closely involved in relief efforts and providing support to affected villages along the coast of Tamil Nadu; Prathap later became one of the founding members of Evidence Aid in 2005, championing evidence-based approaches in humanitarian action.

For many Cochrane people, their very memorable first impression of Prathap was on stage at the 2002 Stavanger Colloquium singing the virtues of systematic reviews to REM’s iconic song, “Losing my Religion.”

Sally Green and Steve McDonald (co-directors Cochrane Australia) say: “It took a special kind of person to believe that Cochrane could take hold and flourish in a region as populous and diverse as South Asia. Prathap was undaunted by the task ahead – always optimistic, full of energy and huge reserves of perseverance. Prathap was bursting with ideas and so could immediately see where a person’s talents and enthusiasm could make a difference. He was also extremely generous with his time, forever travelling around the region to lend a hand and committing himself to one too many things. It was our good fortune to be Prathap’s guide in those early days (not that we had much guiding to do) and a privilege to spend time at his home base in the peaceful surrounds of CMC Vellore or on cramped overnight train trips from one meeting to another. You always felt with Prathap that the opportunities were boundless – Cochrane got lucky in finding someone so accomplished at exploiting them.”

Cochrane’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wilson, said: ‘I would sincerely like to thank Prathap for his outstanding contributions to Cochrane’s work, and for his advocacy for evidence-informed health care in India. We will miss Prathap’s insights, commitment and support to advance our work in India, and will still count on him to guide Cochrane towards a new chapter of our work with key partners in India. Prathap, we wish you all the best for the future.’

Staff at the BV Moses Centre (BVMV) will continue their activities, including training for evidence-based medicine using Cochrane methods, translation work, maintaining the South Asian Database of Controlled Clinical Trials. They will also be involved in exploring new opportunities for Cochrane in the region including the development of a Indian Cochrane Network.

Cochrane thanks Professor Prathap Tharyan for his outstanding contributions over the last 14 years and we wish him every happiness and success for the future.

Hear more about what has driven Professor Prathap Tharyan all these years to invest in evidence-informed health care: Recommended dose podcast .

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility awarded the 2019 Research Excellence Award at the University of Auckland

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 12:41

The 2019 Research Excellence Awards were held at Old Government House at the University of Auckland on Tuesday, 7 May. The theme of the awards was ‘The future world of work: Te ao mahi ā mua’.

The annual Awards recognise the outstanding contributions made by researchers from those beginning their career to those whose work has earned them national and global standing. The Awards celebrate excellence at all stages of research across the faculties and institutes at the University of Auckland.

Four Research Excellence medals are presented annually, up to two for individuals and up to two for teams, who have made an outstanding contribution to one or more disciplines. Along with the medal, an individual winner receives $5,000 and winning teams $10,000. The award is judged and supported by the University Research Committee.

Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group were awarded a Research Excellence Award for clinical trials and systematic reviews of fertility treatments.

Congratulations to Cindy Farquhar who led the team which consisted of Marian Showell, Vanessa Jordan, Lynn Sadler, Jane Marjoribanks, Helen Nagels and Sarah Lensen.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Cochrane seeks KT Projects Officer - Flexible Location

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 10:57

Specifications: Full Time, Fixed term for 2 years or a secondment
Salary: Competitive
Location: Flexible
Application Closing Date: Friday 7th June 2019

This role is an exciting opportunity to use your experience as a Projects Officer to make a difference in the field of health care research. 

This new role, as part of Cochrane’s Knowledge Translation (KT) department, will be responsible for supporting the delivery of specific KT activities and implementation projects; and to assist colleagues across Cochrane’s global community by providing training, tools and guidance in order for them to implement their KT activities and wider strategic plans.

The successful applicant will work across a range of project areas within the KT department that includes: supporting and coordinating the work of the KT Working Groups, support to external and internal communications, multi-lingual strategies, partnerships and advocacy, brand marketing and events, and KT training requirements.

We are looking for a self-motivated and highly organised individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts across the world.  The successful candidate will also have:

  • A degree or equivalent experience in health policy or science background
  • An understanding of knowledge translation and experience of delivering implementation projects
  • Ability to work alongside varied teams in different cultural and linguistic settings
  • Proven experience of building productive working relationships, both internally and externally, in a geographically dispersed environment
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and work assignments
  • Willingness to work flexibly including outside normal working hours to accommodate different time-zones, when needed, and sporadic international travel
  • Commitment to Cochrane’s mission and values

Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV along with a supporting statement to recruitment@cochrane.org with “KT Projects Officer” in the subject line.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements for the post outlined in the job description using specific examples.  List your experience, achievements, knowledge, personal qualities, and skills which you feel are relevant to the post.

For further information, please download the full job description from here.

Deadline for applications: Friday 7th June 2019
 
Interviews to be held on: TBC

 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Cochrane Sweden celebrates its 2nd anniversary

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 17:59

Cochrane Sweden is celebrating their 2nd anniversary. The Centre was established on the 16th May 2017 and is located in the city of Lund. It is affiliated with the Department of Research & Development / Section for HTA Analysis, Skåne University Hospital, in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University and with the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen led by Karsten Juhl Jørgensen.

Over the last two years, Cochrane Sweden has been busy promoting-evidence based decision making in healthcare in Sweden. Some accomplishments, so far, have been providing learning tools on how to conduct, edit and read systematic reviews. This has led to Cochrane Interactive Learning being a part of the curriculum at the Medical Faculty at Lund University. The Centre is also actively working with key stakeholders across Sweden to assist in the use of Cochrane reviews in research and practice. Matteo Bruschettini along with his colleague Minna Johansson, and in collaboration with Cochrane Norway and Cochrane Nordic, have been touring the country giving talks at conferences and hosting workshops and seminars about Cochrane.


More recently, the Director and the Communications Consultant of Cochrane Sweden, Matteo Bruschettini and Dina Muscat Meng, have spearheaded an initiative to support anyone interested in learning about our efforts at Cochrane to have the opportunity to participate in an international exchange programme, which has been named The Cochrane International Mobility Programme. So far, the Centre has already arranged 5 exchange experiences for people interested in learning more about Cochrane evidence at Cochrane Sweden with other centres and groups in Cochrane.

Peter Brattström from Lund University visiting Cochrane Austria and learning about Cochrane methodology for his master thesis in neonatology.

Matteo Bruschettini, Director of Cochrane Sweden, says: "Two years ago, we could not expect such a positive and immediate response to the establishment of a Cochrane Centre in Sweden. Despite a huge delay compared to the other Scandinavian countries and the lack of a national subscription to the Cochrane Library, our workshops and courses have been attended by so many enthusiastic people. Moreover, we’re working at full speed, with junior and senior researchers visiting our Centre and contributing to relevant studies (a few to be published in 2019). We’re very grateful to professor Ingemar Petersson, Head of Research at the University Hospital in Lund, for his wise and generous support. In addition, we aim to further expand the successful and strategic collaboration with the Cochrane Centres in Norway and Denmark and to facilitate the launch of a new Cochrane Field in Sweden."

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cochrane Rehabilitation at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 16:29

Rehabilitation is a health strategy aimed at enabling people with disabilities to reach and maintain their optimal physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and social functional levels. Rehabilitation provides disabled people with the tools they need to attain independence and self-determination.

The Cochrane Rehabilitation Field serves as a bridge between all the stakeholders in Rehabilitation and Cochrane. Cochrane Rehabilitation drives evidence and methods developed by Cochrane to the world of Rehabilitation and also convey priorities, needs and specificities of Rehabilitation to Cochrane.

Recently members of Cochrane Rehabilitation attended the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress in Geneva. They helped with a Indaba session on 'evidence based practice terminology, had posters, and handouts, and Cochrane's 30 Under 30 member, Joel Pollet, did an oral presentation. It was a great opportunity for Cochrane Rehabilitation to connect directly with physical therapists, many of whom were familiar with Cochrane systematic reviews and want to get involved.

Monday, May 13, 2019

11th Croatian Cochrane Symposium (CroCoS)

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 15:53

 The 8th May was a hub of excitement at the University of Split School of Medicine as members of Cochrane Croatia were getting ready to host their 11th Annual Croatian Cochrane Symposium. This year’s CroCoS was co-organised with the Social Sciences and Humanities Faculty of the University of Split, represented by Assist. Prof. Darko Hren.

Thanks to collaboration between Prof. Ana Marušić, Research Coordinator for Cochrane Croatia, and member of Cochrane’s Scientific Committee, and Howard White, CEO of Campbell Collaboration, the 11th Croatian Cochrane Symposium was dedicated to systematic reviews in the social sciences. Over 50 participants from all over Croatia and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to hear about the work of Cochrane and Campbell in promoting positive social change through the production and use of evidence synthesis.

Vivian Welch, Editor-in-Chief of the Campbell Library, Co-Director Cochrane Campbell Global Ageing and Co-convenor, Campbell-Cochrane Equity Methods Group described the many ways in which both organisations strive to create ‘better evidence for a better world’, with Campbell producing systematic reviews, plain language summaries and policy briefs in areas such as crime and justice, education, disability and social welfare. Ashrita Saran, Evidence Synthesis Officer for Campbell, presented the role of ‘evidence and gap maps’, as a visual form of knowledge brokering and a practical source of inspiration for needed research, both primary and secondary.

Helena Domeij, Project Manager and Dental Advisor, from the Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU), presented SBUs model of knowledge brokering. SBU is commissioned by the Swedish government to undertake systematic reviews within the areas of health care and social services. SBU was established in 1987 and today employs 80 people, whose main purpose is to assess interventions in healthcare and social services from a broad perspective, including medical, economic, ethical and social aspects.

This year, participants also had the opportunity to learn about the ‘why and how of scoping reviews’. This was presented by Keti Glonti, a PhD student in the ‘Innovative Training Networks Horizon 2020 Project’, who is undertaking a scoping review on the ‘roles and tasks of peer reviewers in the manuscript review process in biomedical journals’. This was further illustrated by Dr Marin Viđak, a member of Cochrane Croatia, who presented the findings from his scoping review with a focus on promoting an ethical climate to prevent scientific misconduct.

Finally, Ivana Burić, from Split, shared her experience in conducting a systematic review as part of her PhD at the Radboud University in the Netherlands, on gene expression changes induced by meditation and related practices. Although sceptical at the outset when tasked with doing a systematic review, Ivana concluded her presentation by stating that doing systematic reviews is definitely worthwhile because ˝they get published well, can create new career opportunities and can be done for free!˝

In the afternoon participants actively contributed to one of two round table discussion: ‘Promoting use of research synthesis for policy and practice’ or ‘Incentivizing researchers to do systematic reviews’. Many great ideas were heard and will hopefully be put into practice. Finally, as is tradition, two training workshops were offered to symposium participants, one on creating evidence and gap maps and the other on conducting systematic reviews.

The symposium would not have been possible without the generous support of the University of Split School of Medicine, MiRoR Horizon 2020 Project and the City of Split.

Irena Zakarija-Grković
Co-Director, Cochrane Croatia

Monday, May 13, 2019

Featured Review: Treatments for hand eczema

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 12:08

The Cochrane Review, 'Interventions for hand eczema', addresses the effects of topical and oral or injected medicines that work throughout the entire body as treatments for hand eczema when compared against placebo (an identical but inactive treatment), no treatment, inactive ingredients that help deliver an active treatment, or another treatment. The study and its conclusions will be of interest to researchers, research funders, as well as people living with this condition and patient groups representing them.

Hand eczema is an inflammation of the skin that can be caused by an allergic reaction (such as rubber chemicals) but other external factors (irritants such as water or detergents) and atopic predisposition are often important triggers. Hand eczema can cause a reduction in quality of life and lead to many work‐related problems. Various types of hand eczema exist, and different treatments with unknown effectiveness are currently used. 

The review included 60 randomised trials published up to April 2018 comprising 5469 participants.

Twenty‐two studies were funded by pharmaceutical companies or were (co-)authored by employees of pharmaceutical companies. Most participants were hospital outpatients over 18 years of age with mild to severe chronic hand eczema. Treatment was usually given for a short duration, up to four months, and outcomes were mainly assessed after treatment.


Limited data are available to support the best way of managing hand eczema due to varying study quality and inability to pool data from studies with similar treatments. Corticosteroid creams/ointments and phototherapy (irradiation with UV light) are the major treatment options, although comparisons between these options are lacking.

The quality of evidence was mainly moderate, with most analyses based on single studies that had small sample sizes; therefore, some results should be interpreted with care.

Lead author Wietske Andrea Christoffers, from the University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands explains, “The results of this review cannot be used to inform clinical practice with regard to the best way of managing hand eczema, especially in the long term.  Most findings were from single studies with low precision, so they should be interpreted with caution. Topical corticosteroids and UV phototherapy were two of the major standard treatments, but evidence is insufficient to support one specific treatment over another. A relatively new systemic treatment (an oral retinoid called alitretinoin) for patients with severe chronic hand eczema showed clearance or almost clearance of about half the participants in three large RCTs (Fowler 2014; Ruzicka 2004, Ruzicka 2008). We found high-quality evidence that relative to placebo, people who are given alitretinoin were more likely to achieve good symptom control (investigator or participant rated). The benefit became more apparent with increased dosage (10 mg versus 30 mg).

Well-designed and well-reported, long-term, head-to-head studies comparing different treatments are needed. Consensus is required regarding the definition of hand eczema and its subtypes, and a standard severity scale should be established.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Cochrane's 30 under 30: Chinese Team

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 10:58

Cochrane is made up of 13,000 members and over 50,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all. 

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of this series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30." 

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world. 

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact lparsonson@cochrane.org.  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact membership@cochrane.org where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

Names: Chunli Lu, Jing Li, Yuqi Li, and Xun Li
Age: 25, 23, 25, and 34
Occupation: Postgraduate students (Chunli Lu, Jing Li, and Yuqi Li) and staff (Xun Li) of Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine
Program: Cochrane Cochrane translation project of simplified Chinese

How did you first hear about Cochrane?
We got to know Cochrane via the translation project (CENTRAL and Cochrane Translation Project) once we entered the Centre.

How did you become involved with Cochrane? What is your background?
We are all from an Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine background and all became involved with Cochrane via the translation project.

What do you do in Cochrane?
We translate and edit Cochrane reviews into Simplified Chinese. We also help Cochrane Review Groups to translate and extract data from Chinese publications.

What specifically do you enjoy about working for Cochrane and what have you learnt?
As a team, we enjoy disseminating and sharing best evidence to the world. From Cochrane, we learn useful methodology, the idea of knowledge translation, patterns of organized activities as well as effective communication.

What are your future plans?
We wish to get more involved with Cochrane, including helping to generate and disseminate more Cochrane evidence with simplified Chinese translation, and more Cochrane systematic reviews. Altogether we would like to help more people with good clinical evidence.

In your personal experience, what one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
Cochrane is dong very well in the academic area, yet not that well-known among larger populations in China. Multimedia dissemination is very important for Knowledge Translation and we think informing the general population of Cochrane evidence and making Cochrane a habit, is very important.

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future?
We hope Cochrane evidence could become one of the resources that people first consider looking at when making clinical decision. It would be fantastic for Cochrane to become more accessible to every one, such as much more free full text.

How important is it that young people get involved in Cochrane? Why is this, do you think?
Young people are essential for forming the habit of the generation during the next decades, in practice, training as well as knowledge searching.

Why is this, do you think?
The young people are currently students or starting with their research. On one hand they are the future of research and practice area with more open views, on the other hand, they will be handing over the skill and habits to the next generation.

What would your message be to other young people who want to get involved with Cochrane’s work but not sure where to start….?
We suggest they start with translation as during translation and task exchange, they can learn the methodology and get familiar with Cochrane styles. There are also people working together with them so they are always able to seek help and advice. Cochrane evidence can influence the clinical decision and their own decision in the future.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Embracing Diversity at Cochrane Santiago

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 14:35

Cochrane Chile is delighted to be hosting the upcoming 2019 Colloquium. It will be a great opportunity to meet and network with Cochrane contributors and users globally and to learn more about the wide usage of Cochrane evidence in decision-making at all levels.

The Colloquium will take place from 22-25 October 2019 at CasaPiedra in the vibrant city of Santiago, Chile.

Cochrane is an inclusive organization, and all are welcome to participate and contribute. But true inclusion means the participation of diverse audiences with diverse evidence needs for diverse health decisions. The theme of the 2019 Colloquium is ‘Embracing Diversity’ and the aims are:

  • To make Cochrane more relevant to different audiences making health decisions in varied settings
  • To build new partnerships and relationships, especially with difficult-to-reach audiences
  • To grow the global Cochrane community
  • To advance relevant methodological discussions to make Cochrane reviews more relevant


The 2019 Cochrane Colloquium seeks to look at diversity as an advantage rather than a disadvantage by examining linguistic, stakeholder, and methodological diversity, among other perspectives. Keynote/Plenary Sessions will address the Embracing Diversity theme.

In addition to the programme, there is no better place to experience diversity than in Chile. In 2018, Chile was recognized as the best country to visit by the prestigious Lonely Planet travel guide. This long and narrow strip of land, isolated from the rest of the world by the soaring Andes to the east, and the vast pacific ocean to the west, acts as a catalogue of natural wonders, ranging from the unearthly scenery of the world’s driest desert in the north, to the world’s largest continental ice fields in the south. In between, countless unforgettable locations, including top-of-the-list wine growing regions, the clearest skies in the world, the impenetrable wilderness of Patagonia and the enigmatic Easter island, just to name a few. Chile is nature on a colossal scale, and travel is safe and easy.

To learn more about how the Colloquium approaches diversity, visit: https://colloquium2019.cochrane.org/embracing-diversity

Registrations are open! Register before 25 July 2019 to receive a discounted rate.

Further information: Thursday, May 9, 2019

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